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The function of the imagination is not to make strange things settled, so much as to make settled things strange.

~G.K. Chesterton

In the News


Bureaucrats call it "emancipation," but for foster kids there’s no worse birthday


Published in the LA WEEKLY January 10, 2008

Victoria Stevens, a Los Angeles psychologist who has studied the effects of the foster-care system on younger children, explains that if a child is in a stable environment, his or her brain development is affected accordingly. In a stable setting, connections between the neurons in the brain grow at a healthy pace, allowing for higher-level mental processes — like learning abstract mathematical or scientific concepts.

"In cases of disrupted and insecure attachment, the lower brain processes become dominant and higher-order cognitive skills and social skills can become impaired," Stevens says. Many foster-care kids have trouble reading, and struggle with other basic skills, because their "attention span is hijacked by emotions."


Published in the LA WEEKLY
July 16, 2008

Victoria Stevens, a Los Angeles psychologist who has worked extensively with foster youth, agrees in principal, saying, the "race of parents, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, education of the parents, single parents, et cetera, is of little or no consequence." The key is "the capacity of the caregiver to pay attention to the separate existence of the child and respond contingently with care, delight, love, respect, play, predictability and consistency."

December 2010 through February 2011

The Art of Listening and Reading Non-Verbal Communication: an advanced training for psychoanalytic candidates in music, dance, theatre and poetry to hone skills in perceiving and understanding the meaning of all forms of embodied non-verbal and metaphoric communication within the intersubjective dyadic relationship.

Newport Psychoanalytic Institute, Tustin, California

Tuesday, October 12 and 19, 2010

Two sessions for the Anni Bergman Infant-Parent Training Program:

The Intersection of Psychoanalytic Theories of Infant Development with Interpersonal Neurobiology.
For graduates of IPTAR (The Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research) and the New York Freudian Society, New York, NY.

Tuesday, October 9, 2010

Oregon Art Education Association Annual Conference

Dr. Stevens' presentation: Arts Education, Brain Development and Higher-Order Thinking Skills

Friday, August 20, 2010

SEDAE (State Executive Directors of Arts Education) WEBINAR - Facilitated by Jack Mitchell, Secondary Arts Consultant - VAPA and CTE - California Dept of Education

We know the Arts create powerful links to learning across content areas. The Science, Technology, Engineering Mathematics coalition (STEM) seeks to integrate learning across these content areas. Those of us in the Arts believe that creativity is a critical component of this integration. Several states, most notably Ohio and Colorado, have embraced this inclusion of the Arts and created STEAM initiatives. Our Webex presentation will examine the critical role of Arts play not only in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, but also in building a competitive 21st century workforce.

We are joined in this conversation by Dr. Victoria Stevens, art educator and clinical psychologist, author of The Creative Classroom in the 21st Century: Education, Neurobiology and the Developing Imagination (Norton Professional Books, Spring 2011), Sarah Murr with the Global Corporate Citizenship division of Boeing Company, Josh Gorin of Disney Imagineering, and Karol Gates and her team from Colorado Creative Industries Council.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

SFUSD Districtwide Administrators Leadership Institute, San Francisco, California

Presentation topic: Brain Development and Closing the Gap in the 21st Century: a framework for administrator's introduction to the District's 21st Century skills tool-kits.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

5th ANNUAL NATIONAL CONFERENCE: Keeping The Promise To Our Children
U.S. Congressional Auditorium
Washington, D.C.

Co-sponsored by Children Uniting Nations and the Casey Family Programs Foundation

Panel: The Impact of Toxic Stress on the Developing Brain: Educational and Social Effects on Vulnerable Children, Families and Communities: Getting Out of the Catch-Up Business: Putting Our Knowledge into Action - Programs and Polices for Vulnerable Children, with Erwin McEwen, Acting Director, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, moderated by Dr. David Saunders.

Monday-Wednesday, June 28-30, 2010

The California Arts Project’s 4th ANNUAL
Leading the Nexus of Arts & Career Education

Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel, Anaheim, CA

Tuesday, June 29, Session 3, at 2:00 - 3:45 p.m.

Dr. Stevens will present: Arts Education and Skills for the 21st Century Workplace with a special focus on At-Risk Youth

Friday, May 21, 2010

Beyond Advicacy to Action
San Diego County
Arts Education Summit 2010

All participants will leave with a set of tools that will help them move advocacy to action. Explore the latest research about the impact of arts on the brain with Dr. Victoria Stevens, meet with local colleagues and professionals to gain hands-on strategies to move the arts forward in our county and meet with national leaders in arts education to learn the current landscape and latest news from the Obama administration.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Imagination, Creativity, and Innovation, a Region 10 arts education forum for educators sponsored by the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA)

Imagination, Creativity, and Innovation is a Saturday forum and will be held at CSUSB with a focus on providing additional support to arts educators. Of particular interest for teachers who work in the juvenile court system is the breakout session on arts education with at-risk, foster, and incarcerated youth by Victoria Stevens, Ph.D. a licensed clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst and educator who is on the faculty at the California Institute of the Arts, School of Critical Studies; the Psychoanalytic Center of California; Newport Psychoanalytic Institute; and the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute for Infant and Child Development.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Region 2 Arts Forum, Mt. Shasta, California: Keynote address: Brain Research, the Arts and Child Development
and additional talk: Developmental Approaches to Curriculum Planning

Pedagogy for teachers pre-K – 12th grade based upon current research about brain development, emotional regulation and learning

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pathways to Innovation
Visual and Performing Arts Forum

5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Etiwanda Gardens, Etiwanda, CA

Pathways to Innovation, a Region 10 arts education forum for school leadership teams sponsored by the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA)

Guest Speaker: Dr. Victoria Stevens, offering the latest research on how the arts play a key role in brain development, and how to use brain-based teaching techniques to improve student learning.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Facilitator and Speaker: Region V 2010 Forum, Santa Cruz, California: How Arts Education Can Support Student Achievement in Our Region

Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center, Santa Cruz

Monday, April 19, 2010

Steinhardt Graduate School of Music – New York University
Victoria Stevens, PhD - Guest lecturer for Mort Subotnick’s class

Music, Metaphor and the Embodied Mind

Dr. Stevens will discuss the concepts of the embodied mind and the cognitive unconscious as they relate to the early roots of musicality in the developing mind. Research findings from pre-natal and infancy will be presented and linked to brain lateralization, prosody, the early templates for metaphor and affective meaning-making throughout the lifespan.

Wednesday & Thursday, March 24-25, 2010

Keynote Speaker: Brain Research and the Arts, especially in relation to at-risk youth for Region I Regional Forum for the Humboldt County Office of Education, Eureka, CA

Monday, March 1, 2010

Colusa County: Professional Development for all Early Childhood Educators

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Presentation: Brain Research, the Arts and Child Development

National webinar for the members of the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education - a national non-profit organization whose mission is to support the professional development of State Arts Education Directors

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

CAP (California Arts Partnership) Forum with Victoria Stevens

CalArts, Main Gallery Conference Room

24700 McBean Parkway, Valencia, CA 91355


What is aesthetic intelligence?: Understanding the many facets of creative thinking and its implications for teaching and learning in all forms of arts education

Current research on multiple intelligences, metacognition, emotional intelligence and creative thinking link the teaching of the arts as essential to the development of successful life-long creative learners and civic participants. This CAP Pedagogy Forum will explore this research as well as the work of Howard Gardner and Daniel Goleman. CalArts School of Critical Studies faculty, clinical psychologist and arts education researcher Dr. Victoria Stevens leads this presentation, and shares strategies for the implementation of arts curricula that fosters the development of creative thinking, metacognition and emotional intelligence. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Current Research on Brain Development, Self-Regulation and Arts Education

California Department of Education, County Arts Leads, Sacramento, CA

Teacher training, curriculum and assessment pre-K thru 12th grade for all students, including at-risk youth and gifted children

VIDEO - April 2010: Region V Visual & Performing Arts CCESSA Sponsored Forum with Dr. Victoria Stevens: How Arts Education Can Support Student Achievement in Our Region.

Host: Media Center for Art, Education and Technology Location: Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center, Santa Cruz, CA

READ ALL ABOUT IT! – Victoria Stevens, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist, psychoanalyst and educator, instructs teachers of King City Arts Charter School on the importance of incorporating arts into everyday classroom lessons.


March 17, 2008

Art on the Brain
A presentation of Arts in the Schools

The following are links to QuickTime videos. Click here to download for free, the latest version of QuickTime Player.

Art on the Brain Part 1 of 2 (13:53)

Art on the Brain Part 2 of 2 (14:50)

In March of 2008, Dr. Stevens presented a talk for arts organizations, teachers, parents, and business leaders about the importance of arts education for all children sponsored  by the Forest Theatre Guild, Carmel-By-The-Sea in Carmel, CA. This was a prelude to her talk the next day for the Region 5 Arts Education Forum sponsored by the Santa Cruz County Office of Education entitled: "Open the Doors to Arts Education". The topic of her Keynote Address was "Creativity, Empathy, Imagination and Metacognition: What Affective Neurobiology Tells Us about the Importance of Arts Education for All Children."

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